693.0031 Tibet/7–1648

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of the Division of Chinese Affairs (Sprouse)

Participants: Mr. Forbes, Department of Commerce
Mr. Dempsey, Department of Commerce
Mr. Butterworth, Director for Far Eastern Affairs
Mr. Sprouse, CA

Pursuant to Mr. Sprouse’s request Mr. Forbes and Mr. Dempsey called at Mr. Butterworth’s office today in connection with the visit of the Tibetan Trade Mission to the United States.

Mr. Butterworth described to them the views of the Chinese Government as set forth in an aide-mémoire which had been left by Ambassador Koo with the Secretary of State. Mr. Butterworth pointed out that the Chinese were apprehensive regarding (1) the issuance by the American Consul General at Hong Kong of visas on Tibetan travel documents; (2) the possibility that the United States might question Chinese sovereignty over Tibet; and (3) the British and Indian attitude toward Tibet and their connection with the Mission. Mr. Butterworth pointed out that the Consul General at Hong Kong [Page 763] had not issued visas on Tibetan travel documents but had placed the visas on U. S. Government standard forms. This information, he said, had been conveyed to Ambassador Koo. The latter had also been informed that the United States had not changed its attitude toward the question of Chinese sovereignty over Tibet. Mr. Butterworth explained that the Chinese felt this matter sufficiently important to take up with the Secretary of State and that he wished to acquaint the Department of Commerce with the foregoing in order that they might understand the Chinese Government’s attitude. Mr. Butterworth pointed out that the. Department of Commerce should keep these factors in mind in dealing with the Mission.

The Department of Commerce representatives expressed their appreciation of the foregoing information and said that that Department regarded the Mission as businessmen and that their interest in the Mission was purely commercial.